Tuesday, December 20, 2011

extremely glorious

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These days the girls are always exclaiming how glorious everything is. Glorious. It is their new favorite word. And Chessa's second favorite word right now is "extremely", and she always says it at least twice in a row.

Well here are some glorious pictures from the wonderful Tasha Tudor book Take Joy that I told you about last time...



So so so incredibly beautiful!



And our own Mary now traveling the last stars along the path.

Maybe next year I will get around to making Joseph to accompany her...

This year there are mittens to finish seaming, a few more holiday cards to make, and lots of Christmas cookies to bake!

Tomorrow we will head into the forest to celebrate Winter Solstice and bring home our Christmas tree. We will have hot apple cider, snowdrop cookies, and bring out our handmade ornaments and vintage decorations.

(After we finally finish moving the girls into their new bedroom...)

Friday is my birthday and I have this kind of crazy idea that I would like to do some sewing for myself that day. Maybe a new wrap skirt to wear over wool tights on winter days. I can sew while my family makes dinner for me...

Then it's Christmas Eve.
Then it's Christmas Day!

My sister is coming for Christmas and will be here until New Year's Eve. We have all kinds of kitchen adventures planned, and I'm going to teach her how to knit...


So to all of you here, my dear friends I am so glad to know, I wish you and your families an extremely extremely glorious glorious wonderful holiday season!!!


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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Days, Yarn Along, and a Handmade Holiday...

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It is snowy on this St. Lucia Day, but with a brightness to the sky that is bringing us lots of light.


And bringing lots of happiness to us on these December is a wonderful vintage Tasha Tudor book called Take Joy. So much goodness is this beautiful book! Holiday stories, poems, songs, recipes and delightful traditions!


I have so many favorite pictures from this book, I will post again one day soon and share some of them with you.


This year our handmade holiday seems to be all about knitted gifts. Mittens for the girls, the first ones I have ever knit. They are fun to make! I think I am going to add a bit of embroidery to these so I haven't sewn the seams yet...


Knitting i-cord ties for the winter bonnets. Chessa's green one is done too...

Finished knitting both sets of nesting bowls, but only half of them are felted yet.


The other day the girls made some holiday cards to send to relatives.


Chessa's of course all say "Love" on them.




And some made by Chloe...


I love all the angels!


Our St. Lucia crown has been serving as our table centerpiece, except for this morning when Chloe was wearing it.

And our Advent Angel continues her journey. Now wandering through the trees and joined by some animals.

(Some of you have asked if I made our Advent calendar and angel... Yes, I did. You can see how I made the wool starry path here. I actually meant to share the link last month in case anyone wanted to make one, but time of course got away from me...)


Now I will tell you, most of the above pictures where taken while I was in bed. A really yucky sickness has decided to visit our house. Jason was in bed for 8 days! All the symptoms are very mild, except for extreme horrible horrible dizziness. And just before Jason came down with it we had taken apart half our house, decided to move the girls bedroom, need to paint and redo the floor. We though it would be done in just a few days (or maybe a week) and now we are way way behind! The girls are sleeping on the couch bed and there isn't even space for a Christmas tree yet.

Fortunately now Jason is much better and probably by the weekend the project will be completed. Fortunately I am nowhere near as sick as Jason was but still need to really take it easy. (Thank you homeopathic remedies! Jason has been very over-worked lately, and we didn't even realize he was getting so sick, so we weren't taken care of him well enough...) Fortunately the girls are healthy.
Fortunately knitting is a very restful activity.

And when we are finally able to get our tree and do some more decorating things will feel all the more special and festive!


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Thursday, December 1, 2011

autumn ending...

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December is here! I truly do try to stay within the moment of each season, and of course winter does not officially begin until later this month, but really it seems that these advent days are a time unto themselves. With certainly a more wintery feel to them.

Yesterday I spent several hours in the garden harvesting the last of the carrots and cleaning up the beds. I was so very grateful for one last outdoor garden day! Tonight more snow is arriving and will likely continue for several days!

I have been so quickly falling behind on posts here so there is some randomness to this one...



A non-wintery, not autumn either picture that Chessa drew on the small chalkboard recently. If you look closely you can see that she has written "I love you Rose" on it. Besides her name and our names, and the word "the", these are the words she knows how to spell (and has known for at least a couple years) so she writes them often. Also "Lily".



Cardigans with buttons! Yes, I finished knitting the cardigans in time for Martinmas, and then didn't sew the buttons on until the first day of Advent.




Chessa's cardigan is way too big...



Chloe's cardigan fits her perfectly. Too perfect! She may grow out of it before the end of winter...




But both are keeping the girls warm and cozy, and quite cute, so I'm happy with them!




And now our little Advent angel is walking slowly along her starry path, with each day holding a bit of holiday magic.



Wishing you all peaceful Advent days filled with beauty and happiness!


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Waldorf 5th Grade - Botany (and...)

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Here are just a few more of Chloe's lesson book pictures from our first Botany block...


~ Title page of main lesson book


~ Parts of the flower


~ Mushrooms and Fungi

And cute little elves in the ferns!


We are now finishing up our first geography block (I will obviously be behind on pictures, but am impressed that I am managing to get any of them posted at all...) and next week we will begin our first Ancient Mythologies block with India. That is probably as far as we will get before we take a break in mid December for the winter holidays.


We just had 3 days with no internet connection, which was mostly really nice (really really really nice!) but also a little inconvenient (but only because of Little Sprouts closing and having orders to ship, fairly unfortunate timing...)
Really though, no computer, pretty nice!
I knit lots. Lots lots lots!
And now I am going to go knit some more...

Well wishes and happiness to all...


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Monday, November 7, 2011

Waldorf 1st Grade - First Lesson Blocks

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First of all, I really must say, Chessa is such an adorable 1st grader. The sweet little voice with which she answers a question or recites a verse, she just melts my heart!

She is also a rather shy 1st grader. She is allowing me to post some of her lesson book pictures, but there are others that she has asked me not too, and so I will of course respect her wishes.

We started her 1st grade year with a two week block of Form Drawing, same as I did when Chloe was in 1st grade. After that we began her first Language Arts lesson block, introducing the letters of the alphabet. Chessa already knew all the letters, not because I ever taught her them, but how could she not pick this up herself with an older sister. However, there is still much work to be done. For example, she often writes the letters backwards, and really has not much awareness of the sounds that accompany the letters.

I had grand thoughts of creating an entire new lesson block for Chessa, different than the one I did with Chloe when she was in 1st grade, but in the end I was forced to be practical, with planning out the homeschool year for two children now, I am mostly following what I did before. Which is mostly based on Donna Simmon's Christopherus First Grade Curriculum.


~ My own drawing of a swan for the letter "S" to go along with the Grimm's fairy tale The Six Swans


First grade was the only year which I had a complete curriculum purchased for. It gave me a great foundation that allowed me to continue in the following years more on my own. Unfortunately I don't own the curriculum any longer (and I really do wish I did, Donna writes with such wisdom, I would love to go back through the whole thing) but since I completed entire lesson books alongside Chloe that year I am still able to go back and fairly accurately recreate the lesson for Chessa. In my own lesson book I had written the container story to accompany my drawings, I preferred to read from my own book and writing rather than the typed curriculum pages. (Nope, I didn't tell the story from memory!)

My first drawings were done on individual sheets of paper which where then hung on the wall. Then Chloe and I, and now Chessa and I, would do a drawing together. As you can see, my drawings are very simple, and I am certainly no great artist!

~ My own drawing of the King, Queen, Prince, and Wise Woman

The container story tells of a kingdom where the Prince must go on a journey with the Wise Woman, so that he can learn how to become a good king.


~ Chessa's lesson book drawing of the Jester, who tells the Prince the story of The Golden Goose


~ Each picture has letters written on the opposite page.


~ Chessa's lesson book drawing of a door in the mountain ~ a door which the Prince was convinced must lead to a Deep, Dark, Dangerous Dungeon (though it did not...)

You can imagine my delight when while drawing the letter "D" Chessa said, "A straight line and a curved line!" Yes! Form Drawing success! She pointed this out often while drawing her letters.

~ Chessa's lesson book of the prince calling to Rapunzel

We worked our way through much of the alphabet (not in order) and will continue with the rest in early December.


Now we have moved on to our first math block on the Quality of Numbers. Again, Chessa already knows the numbers fairly well, she actually seems to have quite a good sense of them. She will sometimes amaze us with little mathematical figurings she does in her head.


~ Chessa's lesson book drawings for the numbers One and Two

For this block we are memorizing a verse by Eugene Schwartz... "One is the sun that shines so bright, One is the moon so high. One is the day, One is the night, One is the sheltering sky. One is a head, so still and tame, upon one body whole with health. And "I" is the one and special name that only I can call myself." And then the verses continue with the next numbers.

Although we mentioned the sun and moon for One, they also symbolize the duality of day and night, the opposite qualities of light and dark, and so we used those images for the number Two.


~ Three makes a family


~ The Four Seasons


~ My own lesson book drawings for the numbers Three and Four


And our journey continues...


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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yarn Along and a Handmade (Handknit!) Holiday

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It has been a while since I have been able to do a Yarn Along post, very happy to be joining Ginny today! And this can even count as my first official Handmade Holiday post for the season.

It seems most of my gift ideas for the girls this year are knitted gifts. I want them to have new winter hats and I found this really cute bonnet-like pattern. Here you see Chloe's, in dark red to match her cardigan. It is not blocked yet and I still need to knit the ties. I had a lot of fun knitting this bonnet, and learned quite a bit too, like how to do a neat attached i-cord binding. Chessa's hat will be green to match her cardigan...

Another gift will be a set of felted nesting bowls for each of them. They seem to be always in need of containers, baskets, boxes, bowls...

(I will try to include Ravelry links next time...)


Oh oh books! Wonderful wonderful books! Have any of you ever read the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sidney Taylor? I had heard of them a few years ago but we only recently checked one out from the library. And we all fell in love with them! Our library has only two out of five from the series, and then I discovered that most of them are out of print. Tragic! Being as book obsessed as I am I of course had to hunt down some used copies. Even used they can be quite expensive, but fortunately I was able to find the first four books for us. These will be saved as Christmas gifts for the girls as well. They know that the books are out of print and they will be so excited and truly appreciate how lucky we are to have them. My book loving girls!


So I know I never even posted pictures of Chloe's finished cardigan, and here I am showing you Chessa's. Or part of Chessa's. I wasn't up for spending too much time on photos...
Chessa of course wanted a green cardigan. I wanted her to choose light green. She really wanted the dark green. I kind of had her talked into doing the lighter, but then I felt bad since I knew she really wanted the other, so I went ahead and knit it with the dark. We both liked the idea of adding the light green trim. Still waiting for buttons for the sweaters, so they really aren't 100% finished yet....

When I first went outside this morning this big boy deer (yes, I know really he is called a buck) was standing right by our fence. Later I looked out the window and saw that he had decided to stay and make himself comfortable. Always nice to have visits from our deer friends!


Oh, and happy November to you all!


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

october...

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Oh goodness, are we really nearing the end of the month already?

And apparently I am becoming a very, very slow blog writer...



Well then, how about some random thoughts...


Knitting. That's what I've been up to lately. So so much. Almost done with the second cardigan. Almost done with the first winter hat. Which is really more like a bonnet. And which is really really cute. All of which I will soon take pictures of to show you all...

Sewing. Finally. All this knitting has me really missing my sewing machine. A sweet friend asked me to make her a wrap skirt, and so that is how I spent my Saturday morning. How good it felt to be sewing again!

Homeschool. Going a bit slow but very well. Just finished up the Botany block with Chloe and will be starting some North American Geography this week. Just finished Chessa's first Language Arts block, letters and fairy tales. Real homeschool post coming soon...

Food. Harvested. Much stored away. Carrots and potatoes still in the ground, but not for long. Still harvesting fresh greens, yet already missing them. Apples still seeming never ending. Which is of course a good thing.



Our mountains. Beautiful. Getting colder.

This week. On Tuesday. Our 12th wedding anniversary.
My husband. The greatest most wonderful man in the world.


Love and well wishes to all.

And now back to knitting...


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Sunday, October 9, 2011

autumn nature table, harvest stew, and snowy days!

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Last week it rained and rained and rained. We knew that up next was going to be some very cold days, temperatures dropping below freezing, so we had no choice but to go out into the downpour and do lots and lots of garden harvesting. It was cold and wet but fun nevertheless.


By Thursday the rained turned to snow. Snow! It snowed all day long, and much of the next day too. It was beautiful, and exciting, but kind of concerning too. This year we had snow even in June so wow, 3 months only without snowfall!


We are so grateful for our bountiful garden harvest! This stew had a little bit of everything we had harvested in recent days... onions, carrots, yellow summer squash and zucchini, potatoes, beets, beet greens, collards, kale, and swiss chard. I threw in a handful of millet but other than that it was a completely homegrown stew. And it was so so yummy!

Autumn days are feeling good!


Michaelmas pictures drawn by the girls...

Michael has chased the dragon back into his cave, that's the dragons tail sticking out. I like the stars shooting across the sky.


Harvest day picture in progress. The little girl is munching a carrot. The girls had to carve out a bit of drawing space amongst all the winter squash covering the table.


The other day Chloe found this picture she had drawn when she was in 1st grade. The women seem to me to be dancing with their brooms. And I love the pumpkin border.


Pumpkins make me very happy! I have always wanted to grow an entire pumpkin patch, and someday we will. This year we planted just one hill, because I wasn't sure if they would even have time to mature or not. But they did (mostly, close enough) and so now we have four of our very own homegrown pumpkins.


I have been having a nature table dilemma. Due to the fact that we have a new kitty who is quite mischievous! That little rascal gets into everything! I was too scared to put anything handmade out on the nature table. Leaves, grasses, flowers, nothing would be safe. So I did a bit of bookshelf rearranging and am hoping that kitty will let it be.

The girls have been bundling grasses and gathering acorns. Rosehips and fallen leaves have since been added to the shelf.

My first needlefelted figure made a couple years ago, and a knitted pumpkin that took me so so long to make, I think this year I have knit almost an entire sweater in the same amount of time.

Our littlest pumpkin, and sweet acorn fairy made by my truly dear friend Rae, who I am so happy to have just spent the day with, as she is visiting this week. We will cherish our brief time together.

I still have our original nature table set up, I am too attached to it to let it go. Wooden trees are safe from kitty. A favorite autumn print and the leaf garland the girls and I made last year keep it simple yet festive I think.

Thankfully the snow has passed for now, but I think the chill is here to stay.
We are all feeling so excited for all that this season has to offer!


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